Pipis, garlic, karkalla

Pipis, garlic, karkalla

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Found all along the eastern coast of Australia, pipis have long been an important food source for Indigenous Australians, found in many middens dating back more than 2000 years. I would take great delight in pipi-ing for fishing bait as a youngster, by shuffling in the sand between tides until I felt a shell pop between my toes. While you couldn’t get fresher pipis, they were as gritty as hell. You have to ensure that pipis are well purged of sand prior to cooking. There is nothing worse than grit in your pipi.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.6kg live pipis (or clams/vongoles), purged and cleaned (see Note)
1 bunch garlic scales
100g karkalla (beach bananas), washed and picked
zest and juice of 1 lemon
100ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneiki
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
20g flat-leaf (italian) parsley, finely chopped

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers. Spread the embers evenly across the base of the grate and set a grill cooling rack 2½ cm (1 in) above the embers.
  2. 2. Place the pipis directly on the rack. Immediately cover with a lid and allow to cook for 2–3 minutes, or until they open.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, grill the garlic scapes and karkalla over the embers.
  4. 4. Uncover the pipis and, using a pair of tongs, carefully remove the pipis as they pop open, placing them into a clean bowl and retaining as much of the liquor as possible. Add the lemon zest and juice to the bowl.
  5. 5. In a small cast-iron pan, heat the olive oil. Add the chilli and gently fry until lightly golden. Pour the chilli oil over the pipis.
  6. 6. Strain the mix of oil, lemon and pipi juice into a warm saucepan and whisk to emulsify. Add the parsley and mix well.
  7. 7. Arrange the pipis in a bowl and pour the emulsified juices over, garnish with the garlic scapes and karkalla, and serve immediately.

NOTE

  • To prepare pipis, discard any that are chipped, broken, or damaged in any way. Tap to check that the shells are tightly closed, discarding any that remain open. Soak in salted water for 30 minutes to purge any remaining impurities. Remove the pipis and rinse in fresh water prior to cooking.
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